CHELSEA v Schalke: Champions League Preview


Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Wednesday 17 September
Kick-off: 19:45

Here we go then, our first Champions League game of the season sees us at home to Schalke.
We’re no strangers to the German side of course, having played them a few times now and most recently beating them 3-0 twice in last season’s campaign. This time around, they’re facing us with an injury ravaged side struggling for a decent result so far this season, so understandably they’ll be feeling a bit fragile coming into tonight’s game.
Mourinho will want to guard against any complacency (just in case), although you’d have to imagine he’ll take the opportunity to rest as many players as he can get away with tonight.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into our first Champions League game of the season, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says “Motivation is always the same, it does not change. What drives me is to try to win. I work for my club, for my players and for the supporters: I do not work for myself. It doesn’t matter what the competition is or who the opponent is, we want to win every match – obviously we know we cannot do that but our approach doesn’t change.
We are far from perfect; we try to improve every day. Obviously there was an evolution from last year to this year, but last season we did well too. We reached the Champions League semi-finals and were fighting for the league. It will be difficult to do better this year but we have the – we are a better team, a better group. The second season [at a club] is a good time for evolution, for improvement and for the team to be in good shape.
The tournament is part of my history and, even if sometimes I don’t know it, I am part of the tournament’s history. If I win it once more it will be three times with three different clubs and it will be unique. But how many great managers have not won it even once? In this country you have the greatest manager of them all [Sir Alex Ferguson] who won it two times. So from this moment, if I don’t win one more match in the Champions League, my history is there – I won it twice and this is something to be proud of. But of course I want to win it again.”

Schalke manager Jens Keller, says “It’s very difficult if you lose your captain and for the rest of the defenders he is a very important player. We will just have to put four players into the back four, but we still have a little bit of time to consider our options and what solutions we have open to us. I don’t know how long he will be missing for. He is a very important player for us and he is very confident after winning the World Cup, plus we have lots of games ahead. Hopefully it won’t be too long.
Whilst on Chelsea, he says “We’ve learnt [from previous games against Chelsea] that mistakes get punished. We learnt that home and away last season. We know they’re a top team and now with the new acquisitions they’ve made they are even more so.
German football has moved up a step since the summer and that’s great for us. We want at least to emulate what we achieved last season – we want to get through to the knockout rounds. Chelsea will definitely have a say in this season’s competition. They are a very, very good team. They showed that last season and they will challenge again this time.
You’ve got to remember that anything is possible in football. When we played against Bayern München [a 1-1 draw on 30 August] people thought we wouldn’t have much of a chance yet we showed what we can do.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard (both hamstring) are doubtful but will be assessed before the game. Jose Mourinho will probably make some changes anyway, with a view to resting players ahead of the weekend’s fixture against City.
be looking to rest some of his senior players, say John Terry could start on the bench
For Schalke, Fabian Giefer (groin), Benedikt Höwedes (hip), Felipe Santana (hamstring), Sead Kolašinac (knee), Atsuto Uchida (knee), Joel Matip (groin), Leon Goretzka (hamstring) and Jefferson Farfán (knee) are all injured. Draxler (thigh) faces a late assessment although should be able to start.

TEAMS
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Luis, Matic, Fàbregas, Oscar, Ramires, Hazard, Costa
SCHALKE (Possible line-up): Fährmann; Höger, Ayhan, Friedrich, Aogo; Boateng, Neustädter, Sam, Meyer, Draxler; Huntelaar.

LAST MEETING
Chelsea 3-0 Schalke (6 November 2013)

RECENT FORM
CHELSEA: WWWWW
SCHALKE: LDLLL

OTHER STUFF
• Chelsea have won 4 from 4 in the Premier League this season, scoring 15 goals
• Chelsea have lost just one of their last 30 home league games
• Schalke have failed to win any of their first four competitive games of a new season.
• Schalke managed a solitary point from their opening three league games in 2013/14 before recovering to record their third top-three finish in five seasons.

PREDICTION
My superstitious nature makes me feel uneasy going into any game with an excessive amount of confidence but you’d have to think we’ve got a better chance of a result in the group stage tonight than Manchester United.

Comments are closed.